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Pareidolia

Users of Apple's map app have spotted something in Loch Ness. Gary Campbell, president of the Official Loch Ness Monster Fan Club, told the Daily Mail, "It looks like a boat wake, but the boat is missing... the size of the object would make it likely to be Nessie."

The image I've posted here is a detail-enhanced image, because in the original Apple map image, it's difficult to see much of anything at all.

So what is it? The Southern Fried Science blog argues that it's almost certainly a boat wake. It explains the lack of a boat by the fact that the image was taken by a satellite:

"Satellites travel along an orbital path, taking pictures that are then stitched together. Just like when you take a panoramic picture with your phone.
Stitched photos aren’t perfect. For example, if one picture has a boat that’s totally washed out (like almost every boat is when photographed from space) and another picture is just blue water, then you’ll be left with the ghostly blue outline of a boat, which is clearly visible on the “Nessie” picture."

So this wouldn't qualify as a Loch Ness Monster hoax. Just Loch Ness Monster pareidolia.


The original, unenhanced image, as seen on Apple Maps
Categories: Pareidolia, Nessie
Posted by Alex on Sun Apr 20, 2014
Comments (3)

A statue of the Virgin Mary outside a church in Griffith, Indiana has recently attracted attention because a stain on the statue's face looks like a tear. A water mark from rain would be the obvious explanation, but a young girl interviewed for the news broadcast says it's "A sign from God and shows us that Jesus actually did sacrifice his life for us."
Categories: Pareidolia
Posted by Alex on Wed Apr 16, 2014
Comments (0)

If this was just a random unsourced picture on the Internet I would probably suspect that it had been manipulated to create the dragon effect. However, it comes from a professional photographer, Noel Celis of AFP Photo, and is hosted on Getty Images. And these sources provide no indication that the photo was manipulated in any way. So I have to conclude that it's real. In other words, that it's a case of pareidolia, rather than photo fakery.

Getty Images offers this caption:
"A fire breather performs in Chinatown in Manila a day before the Chinese New Year on January 22, 2012. The Lunar New Year falls on January 23 and is the begining of the Spring Festival holiday."
Categories: Pareidolia, Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Wed Apr 16, 2014
Comments (2)
Landon Austin posts on Instagram: "Making breakfast one morning I accidentally created #TheEggsOfAmerica."

Strange, because I actually think it looks like Jesus.

Categories: Pareidolia
Posted by Alex on Mon Feb 17, 2014
Comments (2)
Shortly before Christmas, Florida-resident Tim Symonds discovered that the image of the Virgin Mary had appeared in a tie-dye t-shirt he made. Symonds explains: "I have a basic idea of what the shirts going to look like but I tell every one God does the real art work because where the shirt folds and how the dye runs is up to him and it often makes different images."


According to MySuncoast News, Symonds isn't sure what's he going to do with the "Mother Mary miracle shirt." However, he "might try to sell it."
Categories: Pareidolia
Posted by Alex on Wed Jan 01, 2014
Comments (6)

A family in Scottsdale, Arizona recently made a cheesecake. As it was cooling off it, it cracked in the shape of a cross. The reporter for azcentral.com asks:

"Is this a simple crust cracking or is this actually Jesus Christ coming back and showing support for this family's religious beliefs?"

Um. I guess I'll choose option A. My wife (the cook in the family) says it cracked because they didn't make it right. If you overbeat the batter, you'll get too much air in it, which can cause the cracking.

The family decided not to eat the holy cheesecake. Instead, they hope to sell it and donate the proceeds to charity.

Categories: Pareidolia
Posted by Alex on Fri Dec 27, 2013
Comments (3)
Here's a case of pareidolia from 1927. That was the year Mrs. Baca of Belen, NM glanced up at the window that had recently been installed in the attic of her family's house and noticed "an image of Christ ascending into heaven" on the windowpane. [miracles of intervention blog]


Soon thousands of people were flocking to see the "miracle window". The Christ figure could only be seen during daylight, and only from the ground. If you stood in the attic, the window looked perfectly transparent.

The image survived attempts to clean the window, even when it was cleaned with gasoline.

But puzzlingly, the image resisted being photographed. Many tried, but only one person, Fernando Gabaldon, succeeded in getting a shot of it. He then printed the image on postcards that he sold for 25 cents each.

The window is back in the news because it's recently been acquired by the Harvey House Museum in Belen and will be on display on Dec. 21 and 22.
Categories: Pareidolia
Posted by Alex on Wed Dec 18, 2013
Comments (0)
It can be found in Harlingen, Texas. A mesquite tree was recently struck by lightning, and now some people are saying the resulting stump looks like the silhouette of the Virgin Mary. But others say it looks like "a gnome with a peak hat." [The Monitor]
Categories: Pareidolia
Posted by Alex on Thu Aug 22, 2013
Comments (2)
Desmond and Amy Duguay of Turner, Maine claim that they found a piece of Dot gummy candy that resembles the Virgin Mary. They've put it up for sale on eBay, and bidding is currently at $215. [Bangor Daily News]


But some are crying hoax. The website corporatemal.com notes that there are Virgin Mary molds, which might have been used to create the Virgin Mary Dot.


However, the Duguays are sticking to their guns and insist their "Gummy Virgin Mary" is no hoax. In response to the accusations, they've posted this message on their eBay auction page:

I have seen pictures of the mold with a tape measure next to it and it is larger than the Holy DOT. All I can say is that I purchased the box of DOTs unopened from RiteAid in Auburn, ME. I have not altered the DOT in any way. I think that the only logical explanation here is that there has been some divine intervention that placed this Holy DOT in my box. You know, with the resignation of the Pope it may be possible that we have some sort of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" scenario playing out here... The Holy Dot was my Golden Ticket! Now all i have to do is get myself to the Vatican and try not to drink all the "Blood of Christ" and turn into a giant grape like how Violet Beauregarde turned into a giant blueberry.
Categories: eBay, Pareidolia
Posted by Alex on Wed Mar 06, 2013
Comments (0)
Thanks to LaMa for bringing this recent Jesus sighting to our attention. A bird pooped on the windshield of Jim Lawry's car, while the car was parked in his parents' driveway outside their Brooklyn, Ohio home. When he got into his car, Lawry could clearly see the face of Jesus looking at him from within the poop. Lawry says it's "some sort of sign." [newsnet5.com]

Categories: Pareidolia
Posted by Alex on Wed Feb 27, 2013
Comments (6)
Rust Spot Jesus
Spotted by Marcy Marksberry on top of her farm's corn silo. She says, "I just kinda veered my head to it and I saw it and it was there. It was weird." [myfoxdc.com]



Cloud Jesus
Filmed in the sky above Egypt (by someone incapable of holding the camera steady). [allnewsweb.com]





Angels Above Swiss Lake
Captured by Google Street view. [gawker.com]



Cookie Monster Crater on Mars
Or, as NASA explains, "the superposition of younger craters on older craters (in this case two smaller craters upon the rim of an older crater)." [nasa.gov]

Categories: Pareidolia
Posted by Alex on Tue Oct 16, 2012
Comments (2)
An image released by NASA last week, taken by the Mars Reconaissance Orbiter, shows ancient lava flow on the surface of Mars, in the Elysium Planitia region. Some are saying that the shape of the lava flow looks like an elephant. Hmm. It looks like Jesus to me. (link: space.com)

Categories: Pareidolia
Posted by Alex on Tue Apr 10, 2012
Comments (2)
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